With the Common Core — national curricular standards in English and math — having been adopted by 45 states, it seems Core supporters’ heads might be getting a bit big. Or, at least, they are starting to more openly express their feelings that Core opponents are very small. Like “little people” who pay taxes small.
The reputed Leona Helmsley quote is, actually, highly apropos for the view expressed by Mitchell Chester, education commissioner for the state of Massachusetts, at a recent AEI conference on implementation and governance of the Common Core. At the end of a session in which, alas, there was a fair amount of contempt expressed for supposedly conspiracy‐theorizing Core opponents, Chester gratuitously threw in a small diatribe excoriating anyone who would object to the Core based on its cost. Keep in mind, reasonable estimates of the cost of fully bringing on Common Core hit as high as $16 billion.
Start at the 1:10:00 mark to hear Chester say, essentially, if it will help kids, people simply have no “right” to object to the Common Core based on costs:
Chester may, indeed, think that only the little people pay taxes, or at least only very small people would care how tax dollars are spent if spending is supposed to help “the children.” Of course, that’s much easier to feel when you are using other people’s hard‐earned money. It’s far less painful to act like any decent person would be above worrying about something as pedestrian as cost when you are not the one getting hit with the $16 billion bill.
Alas, this was not the only contempt expressed by Core supporters at the conference. Playing on comments made in Mitchell Chester’s panel suggesting that Core opponents were weaving ridiculous conspiracy theories, such as the United Nations using the Core to take over the country, in the subsequent panel Chester Finn, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, responded to my fears that the federal government would take responsibility for enforcing the Core by flippantly saying the U.N. or OECD would do it. Start at the 36:10 mark to catch my comments and Finn’s dismissive, evasive response:
That’s right, forget Race to the Top, NCLB waivers, federally selected and funded tests — oh, and the Obama Administration’s NCLB reauthorization proposal, which put national standards at its accountability core — and stop with all the “federal control” falderal! Heck, even forget Finn’s own writing on this!
Common Core opponents, you are very small people. But even you deserve much more openness and seriousness than some Common Core supporters appear willing to give you. After all, your money — and your children — are wrapped up in this, too.